Thursday, July 20, 2006

Minutes 20/07/2006

PRESENT: Willow Pearce, Martha Ferguson, Laura sweet, Craig Harris, Kimberley Tucker, Amin Smith, St Clair Trott.

• The meeting was held at the home of Willow Pearce and began at 6:15PM.
• The club welcomed new member Kimberley Tucker.
• It was noted that we are striving to post each meeting’s minutes on our blog within one week of the meeting.
• Craig proposed that the members meet for an occasional ‘Film Night’. It was thought that a film night could be a fun social event and also complement the books we are reading. It was suggested therefore that we might first watch a Shakespeare play on film, such as ‘Merchant of Venice’.
• It was announced that the next selection will be ‘1599 A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare’ by James Shapiro. Members were advised that the book was now available at the Bermuda Bookstore.
• Discussion on our current selection, ‘East of Eden’ by John Steinbeck, commenced.
• Laura deemed it a ‘page turner’. She did, however, question Kate’s personality. She considered her one-dimensional commenting that Steinbeck had written her as completely bad with no redeeming qualities – was this realistic, she wondered?
• Craig added that other characters, such as Adam or Mr. Hamilton, were also somewhat one-dimensional and stereotypical.
• Kimberley, a teacher, explained that Kate’s character was believable and accurate as she had encountered students in her career that behaved similarly.
• There was considerable discussion of Lee. The group was surprised to learn that many critics and scholars consider the character of Lee to be one of the biggest and most important in all of American literature.
• Laura considered Lee a bit strange and believes he didn’t fit in to the family or this story.
• In Martha’s opinion he was someone who constantly searched for happiness without realising he was already happy with the life he had.
• Kimberley said that it was the character of Abra that she wanted to learn more about. The group questioned whether Abra was a precursor of a ‘modern’ woman? Kimberley noted that Abra’s chief concern was to get married and that marriage was not a particularly modern concept.
• Martha did consider Abra as ahead of her time. She described her as ‘honest’ and ‘anything but coquettish’.
• Willow agreed with Martha saying that Abra said exactly what was on her mind.
• Amin thought it was clear why this book was considered a classic. He said it was a book that caused the reader to think about themselves, especially how you grew up and how you were treated as a child.
• Martha felt that the book left too many loose ends but that Kate ‘kept you guessing’.
• Willow pronounced the book as ‘unpredictable’.
• The character of Adam’s father, Cyrus, intrigued St Clair. He questioned his honesty in amassing his fortune.
• Craig liked the character of Charles. He appreciated how his personality evolved through the course of the book.
• Martha compared Aron and Charles to a married couple.
• Agreeing, Amin characterised Charles as the ‘wife’ and Aron as the ‘husband’ in the relationship.
• St Clair found Kate to be the most interesting character. He also likened Aron and Charles to the bible’s Cain and Abel. There was considerable discussion of the similarities between this book and the Book of Genesis.
• All members agreed that they enjoyed the book.
• There were several books presented in the ‘Page Turner/Page Burner’ segment of the meeting.
• Willow offered ‘Rasputin’ by Brian Moynahan. As we have read several books dealing with Russian history this book generated considerable interest among the members.
• Willow also offered ‘101 People who are Screwing up America’ by Bernard Goldberg. He confessed that not knowing who all of the 101 people mentioned are diminished his enjoyment of the book.
• Craig offered ‘Angle of repose’ by Wallace Stegner. In addition to being a Pulitzer Prize winner Craig thought this book was of interest since it was similar in scope and subject matter to ‘East of Eden’.
• Martha offered ‘Polio: An American Story’ by David M. Oshinsky. This book also generated considerable interest. It was commented that this book might make an excellent selection for the club.
• Martha agreed to select the next book for the club.
• St Clair advised that he would continue to research selections for the future.
• The next meeting was scheduled for August 28th, with the location to be decided.
• The meeting ended at 8:20PM.